KRIS LINDSAY - Tuesday, March 4, 2014
The USA will take on Ukraine Wednesday afternoon (1:30 pm ET) in a friendly that almost didn't happen.
Political turmoil and public unrest forced the game to move out of Ukraine to the island of Cyprus. Ironically, Cyprus also fell victim to violence this week, with fans bombing the car of one of the top referees in the Cyprus FA.
US head coach Jürgen Klinsmann approaches the game against Ukraine with a few changes to his team selections, seeing Michael Bradley, Mix Diskerud, and defender Tim Ream leave the roster due to medical and personal reasons. Birmingham City defender Jonathan Spector was added late Sunday night to fill out the roster.
The US camp was the first appearance with the senior team for young German-American Julian Green. The dual-citizen forward is not eligible to play for the team until he completes a one-time switch form Germany, having played with the German youth teams previously.
Several players will be on trial for the FIFA World Cup in Brazil, trying to make their case to book their own ticket. Players like John Brooks, Danny Williams, Will Packwood, and forward Juan Agudelo make return appearances to the lineup, and will likely all have a chance to showcase their talents on the field.
Ukraine enters the game with distractions and struggles inside their home country. The Ukrainians welcome back their captain, former Bayern Munich midfielder Anatoliy Tymoshchuk, to the lineup to face the United States.
This will be the fourth time that the two countries have met. The USA has never recorded a win against Ukraine, going 0-2-1 all time.